RootsRated is a cool new app and website that utilizes professional reviews to tip you off to the best local trails, water routes, bike rides, rock climbing and more in select cities across the US. Before you embark on your next outdoor adventure, it’s a must.

I recently spoke with the folks at RootsRated about their product – here’s what they had to say:

Cincinnati Profile: How did RootsRated come about?

RootsRated's clean user interface makes makes it easy to find outdoor activities across the country. More cities are being added every day.

RootsRated’s clean user interface makes makes it easy to find outdoor activities across the country. More cities are being added every day.

Bryson at RootsRated: In the summer of 2011, we took a 16,000 mile road trip around North America. During that trip, we interviewed 1,100 college students about the barriers they face as it relates to discovering outdoor recreation. There were two main takeaways from the people we interviewed: “We don’t know where to go,” and “we don’t know who to go with.” Simultaneously, every few days we’d drive into a new city. We’d be driving into a new city, and on our phones, we’d Google things like “Best trail running Minneapolis,” or “best hiking San Francisco,” and we consistently ran into a sea of mediocrity online – search results were incredibly fragmented, and we ran into results, like Yelp reviews for botanical gardens, and old burly blogs that hadn’t been updated in years.

When we couldn’t find good information online, we started stopping into local outdoor gear shops and asking their staff for local recommendations. They didn’t disappoint! And each of the 50 retailers we stopped into offered great local information on trails and where to grab food afterward.
That was our “light bulb” moment. The information and the expertise exists, but it’s not reaching people online. (We wanted to) build a platform that would allow us to disseminate local expertise to an audience looking for reliable local information on their outdoor pursuits. For more information on our founding, here is our founding story.
CP: Who is the app designed for?
RR: The app is designed for a broad audience that is interested in the outdoor lifestyle. We’ve designed RootsRated to be useful for the elite trail runner who’s visiting a new city, or the mother with three children who is looking for (places) to take her kids hiking over the weekend. Or the person who’s just starting out in climbing and wants to see what his/her city has to offer. RootsRated was designed to break down barriers to access to the local outdoor lifestyle and be as inclusive as possible.
The RootsRated home screen

The RootsRated home screen

CP: What sort of information can people access through the app?

RR: People can find professionally-written articles about the best outdoor experiences for whatever outdoor sports are availble in their communities. This could be hiking, trail running, climbing, paddling, cycling. it could also include skiing for towns with wintry mountains, and surfing for beachside communities. All of the destination profiles have been recommended by local experts.
Within a destination review, people will find difficulty rating, directions to the trail head, and photos. They can save destinations to bucket lists, mark destinations as completed, and share destinations they’ve loved with their friends. People can search for information by activity, or through specific cities.
CP: How can we get Cincinnati on your list?

RR: Great question! Our model is a sponsorship model, so the cities on RootsRated have been made possible by sponsors, such as Marmot, Outdoor Research, Horny Toad, and others. In Birmingham, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama sponsored our work there, so we are actively pursuing local companies/organizations that can sponsor the production of this resource in other cities.